In an ideal world, everyone would get along with everyone — nothing but positivity would encompass each individual as they emerge from their respective homes and maneuver their surroundings. Days would be filled with sunshine and good news, cash promotions and abounding possibilities; nobody would be flipping anyone off on the freeway and nightly celebrations would occur consistently around the calendar year. Unfortunately, that world is only available with the consumption of mushrooms… and even that expires within seven to eight hours.
Bad days are inevitable — ranging from merely depressing to devastatingly tragic.
The last thing you want to do at the end of a rotten day is dwell on the unchangeable. Period. Friends give advice, but nothing soothes a scarring event better than music. Reggae, in particular, brings to the table not only a wide array of uplifting messages, but an unceasing and unlimited hope for a better tomorrow. So, the next time you’re in a problematic situation, down on your luck or just plain over the people around you, seek out these 10 songs to guide you to tranquility:
10. “Three Little Birds” — Bob Marley
- It’s stereotypical, I know, but it might just be the reassurance you need; “don’t worry about a thing”, for it all might work itself out within the broader spectrum. Plus, this song is more calming than a lullaby. Inhale the herb, while you’re at it, and exhale… lifting up from child’s pose into downward-facing dog.
9. “Broken” — Thrive, feat. HIRIE
- Thrive declares that everybody breaks down; it’s only a matter of how you’re going to repair the damage. Always “remember what’s important” — your support system of family and friends! Start anew by breathing “in the fresh air” as you “find a way to the surface”. Moral of the story: don’t waste any more time wallowing in your sorrows — start rebuilding.
8. “Beach in Hawaii” — Ziggy Marley
- Need to get away? If you don’t have time off from work or the financial means to leave town, escape in your mind to Kauai… at least for three minutes and 40 seconds until the song ends. Place this track on repeat for an extended vacation.
7. “Elephants” — Reeform
- If running from your problems is not the answer, maybe embracing the chaos is a better solution? Reeform knows how crazy feels in saying “we’re all going insane”, so might as well jump on the bandwagon while it’s passing by…
6. “Time” — Don Carlos
- The age-old saying ‘time heals all wounds’ is not reserved solely for the more optimistic inhabitants of the world. Most issues are passing, so Don Carlos‘ suggestion is to “watch the clock keep ticking away”. Go ahead and countdown to when people start talking about someone else’s embarrassing moment or the morning you wake up motivated to embrace a new life instead of wanting to continue to sleep forever.
5. “Energy” — Seedless
- Perhaps you’ve tried everything and still can’t get out of bed. Regardless of circumstance, hard times are just that — hard. Starting the day can be hard; getting through work and providing for others can be unimaginable. If your batteries are running low, recharge with Seedless’ mantra: “the energy is coming around” through the healing powers of music.
4. “King Without a Crown” — Matisyahu
- If music is meant to heal, then songs regarding a higher power are quintessential anthems. Matisyahu gives himself over to his God “with the essence of [his] being” when times get tough. No matter what you believe in — God, Jah or your own spin on spirituality — it will distract you momentarily from the situation at hand, on top of it being potentially helpful.
3. “Pressure Drop” — Toots & The Maytals
- Progressing through this list has to have you in a somewhat better mood at this point, so ask yourself — are you possibly overreacting a little bit? Try cooling off from stress by assessing what could be pressuring your lifestyle and causing so much dysfunction. Take a day off, schedule a massage, splurge on something you want and relax. Now, didn’t that feel good?
2. “Sky is the Limit” — Rebelution
- Tears have been shed, meditative deep-stretching has been exercised and you’re ready to stand up for yourself in the face of adversity. A mental checklist sits in the forefront of your mind and now you have to put it into action. This song has an upbeat tempo, blaring horns and the right things to hear to kick yourself into high-gear. Your personal theme song: “the sky is the limit, get out of my way, you can’t get me down!”
1 . “Tomorrow’s Another Day” — Collie Buddz
- Last, but not least, always remember that a bad day ends at the stroke of midnight and tomorrow brings about an unknown sense of resolution. Get back out there and prove to yourself that you won’t stand for misery, misfortune, bullying or embarrassment. You got this!
Author’s Note: I am aware there are countless other songs in the reggae genre that could be of use during times of hardship. These songs just make a sweet playlist. I also want to point out that if you, or anyone you know, is in an abusive or dangerous situation, do not hesitate to seek professional help or call the authorities. Top Shelf Music condones good vibes only, so please spread some loving along!